D&D 5E DM Confessions: What monsters do you overuse?

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Steeliest of the dragons
I fall into most of those already listed.

#1 [by far]: Evil Humanoids, in general. Kobolds, goblins, orcs, hobgoblins, ogres, bugbears a bit less so, evilly-disposed lizardmen, troglodytes, etc... Generally speaking, evil humanoids are always the mooks/minions of evil, found everywhere in seeming unending numbers.
#2: I have noticed a pension, particularly at lower levels (where a great deal of my games occur), of overusing faye beings. Dryads, pixies, nixies, redcaps, leprechauns, etc... Generally speaking, these are not antagonistic encounters, often even being helpful influences for the party. But they do "show up" quite a lot in my games. In all fairness, satyrs and sprites might make such regular appearance because they exist as a PC race in my campaign world.
#3: Undead. Easy peasy, no moral ambiguity. It's undead. It's evil. I use skeletons, zombies, shadows, and, particularly, ghouls vastly more often than "free-willed" undead, so there isn't even any moral/ethical question of it as a 'thinking" creature. Nothing makes for completely guilt-free hack'n'slash like hordes of undead.
#4: Someone mentioned stirges...yeah...I use stirges a lot. But, let's be real...you can never have too many stirges. boowa. ha. ha. ;)
#5: mmm...this is a toss up between Demons/demonic creatures or Dragons/draconic creatures. Not really sure which I use more of, but both (moreso the type-of-creature than full-on demons or dragons) make an, I'd say, "above average" amount of use in many/most games/plots/campaigns.

There's my top 5.


Goblinoids, wizards, vampires, and dragons are about the only creatures that manage to show up in basically every campaign - or at least those are the only things which when a campaign didn't include them the players stated something along the lines of "Wait... we didn't run in to any [blank] in that campaign... weird."

I'm about to complete flip the script on them, so to speak, because sometimes in the near-ish future we are switching over to using a campaign setting the players aren't all that familiar with and it has a whole host of monsters of its own that they've never encountered in all their years playing, so I am going to use as many of them as I can to make their introduction to this new world as distinct from other worlds as it can be.


Giant spiders. They're so simple yet iconic. And can cling to the walls or ceilings above. And several of my players really really hate spiders.

I'm honestly having trouble recalling the last time I ran a medium- to long-term campaign that didn't involve a lich on some capacity. I'm almost, but not quite, as bad with mind flayers. I just really, really love building plots and schemes around those guys. :eek:

I'm curious what monsters other DMs find themselves using as go-to options perhaps more often than strictly necessary. (And I don't just mean "This creature appeared briefly in a random encounter" or the like, but as actual plot-centric or adventure-focused antagonists or NPCs).



Final Form (she/they)
I do have a tendency to work Yuan-Ti and Illithids into more situations and settings than it probably makes sense for them to be.


Dusty Dragon
Goblins, and not always as foes. In my soon to end campaign, the heroes discovered that the goblins *love* silver and once hired a goblin group to harass enemies. I think that one PC said that it was the best 500 sp he ever spent.

I'm A Banana

I think creepy children are becoming a signature of mine. Homebrew adventure featured a young girl whose wish to the goddess of night killed everyone over the age of 12 in her town. I modified Hoard of the Dragon Queen to include a subplot about turning hatchling dragons into necromantic engines of undeath. And now I'm running Death House, which, in my version, is featuring the soul of a stillborn child that manipulates a heap of plant matter with an unholy faerie power.


I love the traditional gothic baddies: vampires, werewolves, mummies, flesh golems, ghosts, creatures from the black lagoon (I've used various monsters for this over the years: skum, bullywugs, etc).

I also have an affinity for other film monsters such as the blob (various oozes), Jaws (I've done both land and sea versions of this with dire sharks and Bulettes, although the Bulette is a little bit more like using the "graboids" from Tremors than using Jaws), and the Thing (I've used a modified Doppleganger to create this one).


I always manage to work vampires into the setting, but my party's never been high enough level to pose a threat to one... The last (and only) time they actually met one face to face it Charmed them all before they got around to drawing weapons, which would have really ruined their day if it hadn't been more bemused than irritated at them for breaking into its home.

I also love Gricks, and I'm not sure why. They're not too mechanically interesting, nor do they have as much personality as, say, any humanoids, but I have a soft spot for them.


Mine might have been overused in this thread already, and the reasons have been largely mentioned. At least in 5e, my biggest ones have probably been goblins and undead, but especially skeleton types.

The fact that they have lower level versions lets me easily stick them in pretty much any game as we usually start at 1, and at higher levels they can still be a threat in numbers.

The other main reason is that they are humanoid type and are easily pictured by any newbie or experience player. The humanoid part is because I have seen several situations now where introducing new players in particular and having party members kill an actual (imaginary) human has gone poorly for a variety of reasons. Animals have also occasionally resulted in similar issues. As mentioned before, undead like skeletons have none of that baggage for any players I have seen.

Skeletons also have the benefit of easily fitting into my pirate campaign. Pirate skeletons! But the downside to overusing them, is that characters who rely on abilities that don't work on undead, are at a disadvantage. This is why I try to hold back on the undead from now on. Because I don't want to frustrate my players who specialize in maximizing their crits, or who want to use poisons and mind affecting stuff.

I used ghosts a while back, but I knew that my players did not have any ghost-touch weapons. This creates an interesting scenario where the players are actually afraid to fight the ghosts. However, the ghosts themselves did wield ghost-touch weapons. But the moment they defeated a ghost, its weapon also vanished. So the players had to find clever ways to disarm the ghosts, and not kill those whose weapons they had stolen. Sometimes purposefully pitting enemies against the players that are too strong for them, can deliver some really interesting game play. Just be sure that you clearly telegraph the strength of the monsters. I had my ghosts first cut through the city watch with ease, and described their weapons as "burning with a ghostly blue fire".

Zombies and mummies are also a lot of fun. They are my go-to monsters for any catacombs or underground labyrinth. And otherwise its always giant spiders. In fact, I might be overusing spiders a lot as well. There are plenty of other giant vermin to choose from, but the first thing that always comes to mind is giant frickin' spiders.


Constructs! Especially living statue type things.

They're beautiful, deadly, and physically tough. Their design carries a lot of flavor from the culture or individual who created them. They often have a puzzle aspect to them--a way to shut them down, or an inset magic gem that must be broken as part of the fight. And as with undead, there's no moral ambiguity about reducing one to a pile of rubble.

I'm just sad that the 5E Monster Manual doesn't have very many of these things. The promise of more constructs was one of the things that sold me on pledging to the Kickstarter for the Tome of Beasts.

Capn Charlie

I overuse the most terrifying monster of all... humans.

It might just be how my games tend to go, but humans keep ending up heavily as the opposition for the mid to late game range. Other monsters typically exist as things to be killed for humans or on the way to the humans, and then once all the greenskins or undead are gone... the evil duke with his retinue, or the turncoat general who hired the hobgoblins, or whatever.


First Post
I'm surprised nobody has mentioned devils. Intelligent, evil, organized, manipulative, otherworldly, terrifying and preying on the flaws of humans. Maybe it's because I was raised Catholic, but devils have a feeling of being a ... deeper evil, more diabolical than even Lovecraftian horrors because they represent the evil of our own minds, amplified. Like, other bad guys are evil, but devils are Evil With a Capital E. Nothing seems better suited to the pervasive, overarching sinister plot that slowly builds over the course of an entire campaign - you can work in low level bad guys like humanoid cultists, summoning devils to foreshadow and gradually increase the power level, all with the sense of having that overwhelming, unknowable evil waiting just outside the gates of reality to pour in and turn everyone's life into a nightmarish Hell. I've built two campaigns completely around devils, and they usually find a way into most of my stories.

Also, longtime lurker. Not sure why I decided to make this my first post.


Other than the obvious goblins, sorcs and gnolls my passion Is mindflayers of all types I like live ones undead ones feral ones magic ones hombrewed ones eyeless ones and even a friendly ones(sorry for the lack of commas)


I'm surprised nobody has mentioned devils.

Yes! I haven't used these much in 5e, but I think I will now for the reasons mentioned, lawful evil has always been interesting. I have been using demons for similar purpose and there are more low level ones in the MM, but there are some decent options for devils too.

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